The school construction nears, Adam sneaks off to his girlfriend's boarding school and runs into some trouble, Daniel has a revealing conversation with one of the mobsters, Daniel's mother shreds the family photo albums, and Peter sleeps with...a girl? Wo
The suspense/dread/amusement mix that swelled up in the five or ten seconds before Adam knew he was trapped in the hallway in his boxers in a girl's dorm was absolutely delicious. As was the revelation that the tough-guy mobster is in fact gay (the look on Daniel's face when he realized that was absolutely awesome!) and the already-known-to-be-gay son sleeping with a girl. Oh, and Jesus's subtle critique of the "donut story". It's not every day that you run across a show where a person is having random causal conversations with JESUS. You just really can't beat that. It's amazing how this show can manage to incorporate so many things at once (humor, serious contemporary issues, tragedy, love, and popular culture) and still have a cohesive and riveting storyline. This episode does the best job so far of including all those elements and making for a riveting viewing experience.
There're two sections of the Bible: the Old, and the New, Testaments. I'd respectfully posit that many folks seem to've forgotten that the Old Testament's function is to provide the history of how we Christians got to where we are; as well as the New Testament's specific function of explaining to us where we are now.
In a possibly crass way of putting it, the Old Testament explains what went wrong, and the New Testament details the workings of God's correction (yeah, yeah -- someone'll squawk that I'm implying that God made a mistake).
The important thing in all this is that people today have free will (something not present in the Old Testament times). God loves you no matter what you choose to do.
One of the most elegant explainations of that point occurs in the middle of this episode. Adam inadvertently locks himself out of his girlfriend's room, and must spend the remainder of the day clad only in his boxers. He chooses not to identify his girlfriend, nor to 'break into' her room so as to get his things and thereby be able to keep his committment to his father with regard to the new school's ground-breaking.
His family's individual and collective anxiety mount to a fever pitch when the girl friend's headmistress finally calls, informing Daniel that Alex is shivering in her office, awaiting transportation.
Daniel is thoroughly angry, frustrated, and just plain spitting mad. In the midst of that frame of mind, he chooses to level with Alex: his adoption was based on love he and his wife had wanted to share with another child, but was somewhat warped when another son of theirs died. Daniel then tried (eventually succeeding) to be more of a friend than a father to Alex, and now feels that a significant part of Alex's problems stem from Alex's need of a father's guidance and love.
Obviously, an elegant allegory on the relationship between God and His Children (each of us).
As angry as is Daniel, as frustrated and embarassed as is Alex, they each independently exercise their free will mindful of the love they've developed.
The egregious behavior in which Alex chose to indulge is no less: it isn't suddenly gone and forgotten as if by magic; however, it can become, through thoughtful exercise of his free will, a teaching re-inforcement of a border Alex'll no longer have to stumble into or beyond at the risk of severe harm.
Each of us probably have heard many times in our lives bursts of Old Testament-style 'fire and brimstone' lectures about how something(s) we might've done are gonna cause us to rot in a hot place -- yet here's a pluperfectly superb example of how 'learning a lesson' is so much better if it's handled in the New Testament way, rather than the Old Testament way.
Also important to me was Bishop Bertrum's discovery of his wife's downward spiral into the Alzheimer's abyss. She's loosing her mind, but in the midst of that process, she's quite well aware that he has chosen intimacy with another. Will Bertrum fare as well as either Alex or Daniel?
This is a superb program -- just superb. I feel fortunate to've bumbled into it, and will eagerly await the boxed-set DVDs for my collection.
Lesbians, gays, affairs, pre-marital sex, death and loss, are all very serious issues, especially in the religous realm. How they are dealt with and how people of God respond to these issues cause all kinds of controversy, yet that is exactly why I like this show, as a devout Christian. Shows like 7th Heaven, which I like, deal with issues but not as head on as this show does. It's a family show and yet it's a very adult show. If one were to watch it with their kids I think that's almost a good idea because it gives you a chance to talk about the issues with your children. That's a little off topic but anyway. This episode was excellent and really delved deep into many of the different characters, developing each much more. We got to see more into the background history of the family, the Mother was previously courted by Daniel's brother, Daniel and Judith lost a son, Daniel's father is dealing with his wifes alzhiemers by having an affair, Peter has premarital sex in order to avoid confessing his is a homosexual, the Housekeeper is smoking pot to help with her pain associated with diabietes, Adam was having premarital sex at an all girls Christian school and was caught in the hallway in his underwear, Daniel deals with a dependency on painkillers, the Mobster is gay...These are all issues brought up in one episode!!! They are very real, daily issues that people deal with. Maybe not all at once or even more than a few ever in some families. But these are issues that our society has to deal with. It's interesting to see an alternative, Christian view. This is not every Christian's view! This is a Fictional show! But this show is still excellent, entertaining, and I hope with episodes like this it will continue for a very long time.
This show is not about the soap opera drama of sexual escapades, of church politics, of drug addiction. It is about how a family deals of the loss of a son through death, the loss of a parent through Alzhemeier's, the loss of love... It shows us a priest who is wounded, human and flawed, but who truly wishes to do the best for his family, for his congregation, and for anyone who comes to him. It's obviously a show for adults, though, and if you are squeamish about calling a spade a spade, you don't have to watch it.
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